FM Bilawal, Turkish FM vow to strengthen economic ties in maiden official meeting

Published May 19, 2022
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari meets Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on the sidelines of the ministerial conference on the threat to global food security in New York, US, May 18. — Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Twitter
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari meets Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on the sidelines of the ministerial conference on the threat to global food security in New York, US, May 18. — Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Twitter

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, in their maiden official meeting on Wednesday, vowed to bolster economic ties between the two countries, according to a press release from the Foreign Office (FO).

The two foreign ministers met in New York on the sidelines of the ministerial conference on the threat to global food security. FM Bilawal had arrived in the US on Tuesday to attend the two-day ministerial conference that was triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"Both sides expressed commitment to work together to enhance economic cooperation and unleash the full potential of Pakistan-Turkey trade relations," the press release said.

"Both ministers agreed to remain in close contact to maintain the upward trajectory and add momentum to the friendly ties between Pakistan and Turkey," the FO said.

Bilawal expressed satisfaction over the existing "excellent bilateral partnership" between the two countries and reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to further enhance its wide-ranging cooperation with Turkey.

The foreign minister said that the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Turkey would be celebrated in a "befitting manner" in November 2022.

"The foreign minister thanked the Turkish government for its steadfast support and principled position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. He also briefed his counterpart on the so-called 'Delimitation Commission' and India’s illegal steps in IIOJK (Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir)," the FO said.

The foreign ministers also exchanged views on various international issues. FM Bilawal, in particular, appreciated Turkey's role and contribution to the promotion of regional peace and stability.

He also lauded Turkey's support in addressing the Afghan humanitarian crisis.

FM Bilawal later said he was "delighted" to meet his Turkish counterpart.

Address to ministerial conference

Later, in his address to the ministerial conference, FM Bilawal lauded the initiative to unite and mobilise the global community to respond to the urgent food security and nutrition needs of vulnerable people across the planet.

He highlighted the existential threats of climate change, the Covid pandemic and poverty faced by developing countries.

FM Bilawal called for dialogue and diplomacy to resolve disputes peacefully and work together to ensure that humanity was fed.

Meeting with US lawmakers

On Thursday, Bilawal met US Congressman Ami Bera, Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Asia and the Pacific. The foreign minister said Pakistan and the US had a mutual desire to further strengthen their partnership and promote frequent exchanges between the lawmakers of the two countries.

"The foreign minister said that sustained engagement with the US Congress was essential for giving support to Pakistan-US ties, which had stood the test of time," the FO said.

Bilawal said that recent re-engagement between the two countries had opened new doors for a broad-based relationship, especially in the areas of trade and investment, education and people-to-people contacts as well as enhanced parliamentary exchanges.

Congressman Bera appreciated FM Bilawal's proactive outreach to enhance relations and thanked Pakistan for facilitating evacuations from Afghanistan.

"He said that a stable Afghanistan was in the mutual interest of both the US and Pakistan. The foreign minister highlighted the urgency of addressing the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan," the FO said.

Bilawal thanked the US lawmaker for his "keen interest" in forging closer ties between the US and Pakistan and the evolving situation in Afghanistan.

He also appreciated Bera’s recent visit to Pakistan which, he said, was a good confidence-building measure.

"The foreign minister and the congressman agreed on the need for both sides to continue engagement."

The foreign minister also held a discussion with Senator Lindsey Graham over a telephone call. FM Bilawal accepted the senator's invitation to visit Washington DC for detailed interaction with US Senate leadership.

"The foreign minister highlighted Pakistan’s immense potential for US investors, especially in tech, energy and agriculture sectors.

"Senator Graham endorsed the long-standing bilateral relationship between both countries and assured the foreign minister of his continued support for enhancing the partnership, especially in the economic realm," the FO said.

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